The Piano Guys

FROM YOUTUBE STARDOM TO THE TOP OF THE BILLBOARD CHARTS

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Hailing from Utah, The Piano Guys became an Internet sensation by way of their immensely successful series of strikingly original self-made music videos, which have so far netted over 1.2 billion YouTube views. They’ve made over 65 videos since joining forces in early 2011, including their hit video, an innovative 10-handed version of One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful.” But it’s the Guys’ highly original blend of classical music with pop that has really been the cause of an Internet phenomenon that brought them to their major label self-titled debut album released on Sony Music Masterworks in 2012.  This release was followed by their sophomore album, The Piano Guys 2, holiday album, A Family ChristmasWondersThe Piano Guys Live! and recently released Uncharted album all available now on Portrait, an imprint of Sony Music Masterworks.

About The Artists

The Piano Guys are an American musical group consisting of pianist Jon Schmidt, cellist Steven Sharp Nelson, videographer Paul Anderson, and music producer Al van der Beek. They gained popularity through YouTube, where in 2010 they began posting piano and cello compositions combining classical, contemporary, and rock and roll music, accompanied by professional-quality videos. In August 2016 the group surpassed one billion views on their YouTube channel, which at that time had nearly 5 million subscribers. Their first six major-label studio albums, The Piano GuysThe Piano Guys 2A Family ChristmasWondersUncharted, and Christmas Together each reached number one on the Billboard Classical Albums and New Age Albums charts.

The group originated as a social media strategy for Anderson’s piano store, The Piano Guys, in St. George, Utah. Anderson was acquainted with Schmidt, a locally notable pianist who often came in to practice on the pianos when he was in town. In 2009 Anderson saw a music video that Schmidt had uploaded to YouTube, “Love Story Meets Viva la Vida” – a musical blend of the Taylor Swift country pop version and Coldplay‘s Baroque pop song “Viva la Vida“, which Schmidt performed with Nelson on cello. That video logged more than one million hits. Anderson asked the musicians to do more videos that he would professionally film and upload to his store’s Facebook and YouTube pages to promote his store. Nelson brought his neighbor, van der Beek, a songwriter and music arranger, onto the team. Tel Stewart initially assisted with video production.

While the first few videos did not make much of an impact, “Michael Meets Mozart” (2010) gained a respectable showing after Schmidt invited the nearly 30,000 people on his fan mailing list “to watch it and share it”. In June 2011 the group won the “Most Up-and-Coming Channel” award in the YouTube “On the Rise” contest, which brought 25,000 new subscribers to their channel. In 2011 and 2012 the group uploaded a new music video every week to two weeks, attracting thousands of new viewers each time. Meanwhile, The Piano Guys store did not register any piano sales from two years of posting videos, and closed in March 2012.

By September 2012, The Piano Guys had uploaded more than 30 music videos which had garnered 134 million views, and had 757,000 subscribers on their YouTube channel. That month, they signed with Sony Masterworks. Rather than receive royalties on album sales, the group opted to split the profits with the label while financing their own music and marketing. After signing with Sony, they released their first album, The Piano Guys, followed by The Piano Guys 2 and A Family Christmas in 2013 and Wonders in 2014. A fifth album, Uncharted, was released in 2016, followed by a second Christmas album, Christmas Together, the following year. Their seventh major-label album, Limitless, was released in November 2018.